JERUSALEM (JTA) — Egypt has relaunched its investigation into Ilan Grapel, the dual U.S.-Israeli citizen arrested in Egypt on spying charges.
The investigation into Grapel was suspended after his first attorney resigned last week, but it was relaunched on Tuesday. Grapel is being interrogated without the assistance of an interpreter because he speaks Arabic fluently, the Egyptian newspaper al-Masri al-Youm reported Wednesday.
Grapel has faced his eighth interrogation since being arrested earlier this month at his hotel in central Cairo for allegedly spying on Egypt. Grapel is accused of being an Israeli Mossad agent.
Egyptian security officials said he entered the country shortly after the start of the Jan. 25 uprising that led to the resignation of President Hosni Mubarak, during which Grapel allegedly posed as a foreign correspondent. A law student at Emory University, Grapel allegedly said he was Muslim on the visa application he filed with the Egyptian Embassy in Tel Aviv and then entered Egypt using his American passport.
Grapel, who is Jewish, denies he is a spy. He says he came to Egypt to intern for a nongovernmental organization that assists refugees from Sudan and elsewhere. Friends of Grapel’s told the Jerusalem Post that Grapel was an Arabist and liked spending time in Egypt.
Originally from New York, Grapel moved to Israel after his graduation from Johns Hopkins University in Baltimore, joined the army, served as a paratrooper during the Second Lebanon War and was wounded in southern Lebanon in August 2006.
Grapel spoke with his family for nearly an hour earlier this week, and reportedly told them that he was arrested legally and that he has not been harmed and is getting everything he needs.